One, two, buckle my shoe
Three, four, shut the door
Five, six, pick up sticks
Seven, eight, lay them straight
Nine, ten, big fat hen!
Circa my age three, my Great Grandmother Lucille taught me this rhyme and how to pump my legs to use our backyard swingset. This Thanksgiving offered a full-circle moment to that earliest memory, as thoughts of her, my Papa and Great Aunt Rosalie surrounded me in their Iowa hometown.
Macedonia boasts one restaurant, a bird museum and a pottery shop (both open by appointment only). In the company of dear cousins, corn and cows, I had a lot of space to simply rest and reflect. Naturally, I spent hours at the historic park just down the street from the yellow farmhouse our family built in 1911.
Channeling Grandma Lucille, I pumped my legs and rose up and down– gaining perspective and peace. With gratitude, I contemplated the last year– and how I wanted to step forward into another. I released pieces no longer serving me; letting them fall as the trees surrendered their leaves to the wind.
Before my last day, I noticed the word “miracle” imprinted in the faded blue rubber of the swing’s seat. I know this brand was not a coincidence. Precious family time mixed with quiet moments of thought and palpable memories of early learning gave me strength. Just the strength I needed to surrender what I can’t control and feel loved and assured on this journey.
I love the steady elevation gain that comes from leaning back and whooshing my legs through the air:
And up again.
The breeze brushes my hair.
And perspective grants liberation.
Repeatedly, I’ve gained simple freedom by putting Grandma Lucille’s skills to use throughout my life. Undoubtedly, my Smith family’s stubborn strength pushes me to the higher places I want to live.
My mini-Macedonia miracle offered catharsis. Therefore, I keep these swing-set stories close as we enter the highs and lows of this next season. My inclusive faith drives who I am, my writing and how I see the world. I often enjoy considering the fuzzy farm animals present for Christ’s birth and the unconditional love he represents in my life. Unknowingly, a baby lamb might have sat in the same hay that kept him warm. I relish the simplicity and take that in as– much of life simply doesn’t make sense. And perspective won’t be rushed. I’m grateful for moments like the Macedonia park that help me remember, through the rise and fall of it all, odds are, we are sitting on some kind of miraculous.
What about you? What ways are you sitting on a miracle of sorts during this season? I encourage you to pump your legs and “three, four, shut the door” in order to fly free and greet fresh ups and, even, downs. Know you are not alone and I wish we could sit side by side on swings and discuss how you are feeling pushed onward into this next season.
©2022 Rebekah Manley
All rights reserved
runs the Texas Center for the Book. She has an MFA in Children’s Literature from Hollins University and her first book, Alexandra and the Awful, Awkward, No Fun, Truly Bad Dates: A Picture Book Parody for Adults debuted in 2020. This fall marks the 7th birthday for her blog, Brave Tutu! This September, she’s launching her company, Love, Bekah LLC. Its mission is to create witty and heartful products for women navigating heartbreak.